The habitat and diet of koalas (Phascolarctos cinereus) in Queensland
Alistair MelzerA,D, Romane CristescuB,C, William EllisA,B, Sean FitzGibbonA,B and Gabriella MannoA
AKoala Research Centre of Central Queensland, School of Medical and Applied Sciences, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Qld 4702, Australia.
BSchool of Agriculture and Food Science, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Qld 4072, Australia.
CSchool of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of New South Wales, Kensington, NSW 2052, Australia.
Descriptions of koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) habitat and diet from 11 sites across Queensland are presented. Koala activity was recorded from 49 regional ecosystems across nine land zones and ﬁve bioregions. Thirty-four tree species were identiﬁed from an examination of leaf cuticle fragments in faecal pellets. Although the species were from three families and seven genera, 44% of browse species (15) belonged to the myrtaceous subgenus Symphomyrtus. Eleven of these contributed most of the koala diet across all sites. However, most species were present in minor or trace dietary elements. There was also a large number of unidentiﬁed species or dietary elements, all of which were usually present in trace amounts. The importance of these minor and trace components is not known. Diet at some sites was founded on a single eucalypt species. Here the likelihood of those sites’ browse resources being lost or degraded by stochastic events, as climate variability increases, raises questions about the persistence of the resident koala populations.